It's wedding season here on Cookie Connection, and our challenge entrants have been busy planning, decorating, and packaging the perfect cookie favors to help commemorate our fictitious customer's special day!
As is the case with most custom orders, there are many details that need to be taken into consideration (such as theme, color scheme, and even packaging) to ensure customer satisfaction and, at the same time, minimize costs. Another important factor is the customer's budget since this often dictates how much – or how little – time we spend decorating their cookies. This challenge was no different, and, as you will soon see, our entrants showed that, with a little creativity and some thoughtful planning, it is possible to create high-end looking cookies even when working with a mid-range budget.
But before we take a look at these stunning creations, let me remind you of the AMAZING PRIZE for this challenge. One lucky winner, who was chosen entirely at random from among all of the challenge entrants, will receive a $100 gift certificate to BRP Box Shop donated by @Julia M. Usher.
BRP Box Shop is the go-to source for many cookiers who recognize the important role that packaging plays in the overall presentation of their clients' cookie orders. THANK YOU, Julia, for such an excellent and well-suited challenge prize!
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #47 is . . . @MANUELA CANTÙ! CONGRATULATIONS, Manuela! Not only will your cookies be beautifully decorated, but now they can be beautifully packaged too!
Wedding Memory by MANUELA CANTÙ
Manuela's entry was this elegant wedding favor that highlights the couple's wedding date. It is surrounded by a sweeping ruffled border and piped royal icing flowers. Manuela packaged her favor in a classic white windowed box.
And now, here are our spotlighted artists for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #47 in no particular order . . .
Watercolor Wedding Favor by Marilyn at Plaid Alchemy Marilyn's watercolor cake looks like a work of art, and coordinates beautifully with the colors and theme of the inspiration photos. I like how Marilyn used mainly stencils, royal icing transfers, and dragées to help save on decorating time. And I can't think of more perfect packaging for this wedding favor. Its background, with its splotches of color, really plays off the painted effect of the cake and frames it beautifully.
A New Chapter with You by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.
I love the sentiment behind Ryoko's wedding favor, which, as Ryoko explained, is a "book" with no words written in it yet. "From today a new chapter is going to be written with you who are involved with the newlyweds." Sentiment is something not always thought of when decorating cookies, so it was wonderful to see that Ryoko incorporated special meaning into this favor for such an important occasion. The flowers on the cookie, as well as the flowers on the outside of the packaging, coordinate perfectly with the flowers from the inspiration photos. As one judge noted, "The packaging, with the lovely bow, foil doilies, and hidden hearts, all make the favor feel even more special."
Simple, Elegant Wedding Favor by BevH"This favor is elegant and memorable,'' observed one judge, adding, "the patterned fondant paired with gold highlights at once adds texture and shimmer with minimal labor. The stamped date takes center stage, with a clean and classic look at a fraction of the time needed to pipe the same detail." I really like how Bev thought through the whole process of minimizing costs while still creating an elegant wedding favor as per the customer's specifications. I can imagine the guests admiring the lace in the packaging, and being pleasantly surprised that it, too, is edible. The whole entry came together very nicely. Clearly, Bev put a lot of thought into decorating and packaging her wedding favor.
Wedding Surprise by LisaF There's more to this cookie than meets the eye. On top of this wedding favor sits a beautiful dome-shaped bouquet of royal icing flowers. I love how Lisa cleverly designed the bouquet to be removed from the base to reveal a hidden surprise. In this case, the surprise is a commemoration of the couple's wedding date. Regarding the time required to make this favor, one judge observed, "Lisa really worked in a time-saving way of preparing her decorations in advance so that assembly was the only thing left to do." Lisa's idea for packaging this favor is also genius. Instead of paper shred, she used icing sheets and sunflower seeds to line her box. So, not only is her "shred" food-safe, it's also edible! This entry may be Lisa's first attempt at decorating a wedding favor, but clearly she nailed it like a pro.
Edyta provided a choice of two wedding favors that are equally beautiful in their own way. The hexagonal shape of both cookies, one with a golden fault line and the other with a thin gold border, gives these cookies a contemporary feel, yet, at the same time, they still retain a classic look with their elegant floral decorations. Edyta's designs are clean and not overly fussy, and would be easy to reproduce quickly. The same is true of the packaging, which is simple and elegant, and lets the cookie take center stage.
Wedding Favor by Kyra Manthe The molded cookies that adorn this wedding favor add depth and dimension, and give this cookie great visual interest. The white chocolate roses are a nice addition of flavor. I also like how the formal, gold-highlighted roses contrast nicely against the more rustic look of the whitewashed background. The clear packaging that Kyra handmade really allows the cookie to shine and assures its standing as a beautiful keepsake wedding favor.
Playful Wedding Favor by Virago This wedding favor, with its elongated shape and wet-on-wet floral design outlined in black, is both elegant and modern. As one judge observed, "The shape, floral elements, colors, and gold accents match perfectly with the inspiration photos." Another judge noted, "There are several smart decorating choices here that would really save a lot of time. The wet-on-wet technique with drawn details is a speedy way to incorporate the floral accents and writing. The metallic background makes it feel special and expensive." The packaging is also well thought out, and the cookie was packaged in a cello bag for freshness and food safety. I also like how Virago thought to include the cookie flavor with her entry since this is another important detail that needs to be considered. As one judge commented, "Well done, I would definitely pick this cookie if I were the bride!"
Wedding Favor by Dita "This favor beautifully coordinates with the inspiration photos, both in color and textural elements (like the lace and florals)," admired one judge, adding, "the metallic accents lend a sense of luxury with minimal effort." I would also add that the flowers in Dita's wedding favor are very delicate and perfectly piped. Another judge noted, "Simple, yet stunning cookie. Flooding the heart-shaped favor with two colors adds interest to the cookie. The lace border adds a delicate touch. The simple cellophane packaging and slender ribbons coordinate beautifully with the icing colors and are the perfect complement to the cookie and the table setting. This [entry] definitely doesn’t look like a mid-priced cookie."
This entry is one of two stunning wedding favors created by Tina that incorporated several elements from the challenge inspiration photos. And while both cookies are equally impressive, it was this particular entry that stood out more for me. Tina did an amazing job of capturing the couple's love and commitment to each other through the decorative elements that adorn her heart-shaped wedding favor - particularly the handwritten wedding vows, which make this entry a truly personalized gift. I also like how Tina was mindful of using time-saving techniques. As one judge noted, "This entry looks luxe and expensive, however, the details seem like they could be mass-produced relatively quickly. The borders are simple but elegant. Using an edible printer dramatically speeds up decorating time while maintaining a clean, upscale aesthetic." The elaborate bow and thank you note add a touch of opulence and remind the guests that this wedding is a very special one.
This elaborate cake cookie has a high-end look, but Zeena, mindful of costs and labor, kept the decorating process relatively simple by using basic gumpaste flowers and applying piped icing to the sides of the "cake". Stacking cookies of varying sizes to create a three-dimensional look is also a smart idea. It takes minimal effort and time, and sets the foundation for myriad possibilities. In this case, Zeena created a wedding cake with a cascading floral design that could also be a commemorative keepsake of the couple's actual wedding cake. Zeena's wedding favor is beautifully packaged in a windowed bakery box, and is the perfect addition to the overall table presentation.
And that concludes another Practice Bakes Perfect challenge! Make sure you check out the whole clip set to see all of the beautiful wedding favors, along with some very creative packaging ideas. Thank you to everyone who participated, liked, and commented on the entries. Make sure to look for our next challenge, which will post on or around September 5, 2021.
Christine Dutcher's journey as a cookier began in early 2013 when an online search led her to the amazing world of cookie decorating. After spending countless hours learning all that she could, Christine decorated her first set of cookies in October 2013. In 2016, she decided that she would begin to focus on perfecting her skills, challenging herself each time to create more detailed and progressively complex pieces of cookie art. In 2019, Christine became one of the very first sugar artists from around the world to be named as an "Honourary PME Five Star Sugar Artist" by Knightsbridge PME. You can learn more about Christine's work here on Cookie Connection, and by following her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Photo credit: Christine Dutcher
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Dutcher that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.